Enterprise SEO Software

How to deal with decentralization in international SEO

Running an SEO campaign involves many moving parts. Delivering results requires comprehensive planning, good execution, and continuous monitoring.

It’s all about search marketing on a global scale. International SEO comes with its own set of challenges.

The biggest obstacle is working for global clients with a “decentralized” approach to marketing.

In many cases, they have siled organizational structures and are unable to adequately communicate their SEO and paid media initiatives across global markets.

This article details the challenges international search marketers face when working with such clients and what we can do about them.

Problems with decentralized marketing

Distributed marketing occurs when different departments or business units (or “silos”) within an organization have autonomy over marketing activities.

Each business unit and region is responsible for formulating marketing strategies and executing marketing campaigns with this approach.

This gives us the flexibility to adapt to local market conditions, but it can also result in:

  • Inconsistent brand messaging.
  • Lack of coordination across the organization.
  • Distorted report.
  • duplication of efforts.
decentralized marketing

as candid media Rhea Drysdale points out:

“Using a decentralized approach to global SEO strategy and implementation turns coordination and prioritization into a reactive fire-fighting process. Marketing leaders argue that regions and business units know their needs well. often do.

This may be the case for merchandising and integrated campaigns, but if you have a single website with multiple regions in subfolders, you need a unified approach to SEO. At the very least, you need someone to coordinate and oversee all activities related to major launches. ”

She also shares the pitfalls of such an approach.

“[T]Shared learning and innovation is disrupted when one unit behaves in a way that could adversely affect another, often exacerbating financial risks.

We recently experienced this with one of our global clients…In our particular case, a contact from one unit complained about having another English-speaking region in their place. I didn’t know what my left hand was doing.” His SERP content at the start of the global campaign.

Underlying this is how Google handles structural issues around international SEO and signaling, which is a massive undertaking in the organization.

However, there is a major factor that stems from the organization’s regionally-driven approach to SEO requests. [a] Top-down SEO strategy. ”

She makes a great point. So what are the alternatives?

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

Is a Centralized Approach Good for Search Marketing?

Centralized marketing refers to an approach in which all marketing decisions and activities are controlled and managed by a central team or department, either within an organization or as part of an agency.

Here, a central team determines marketing strategies, creates marketing campaigns, and manages the implementation of those campaigns across all channels, platforms, and locations, local or global.

This improves brand consistency, content alignment, and management of marketing efforts.

Still, this system causes delays in adapting to local and global market conditions.

Centralized Marketing 800x455

Restructuring of global search marketing

If your overseas SEO clients are having similar issues, it may be time to talk to management. Communicate the benefits of rethinking your global marketing structure.

I’ve seen this kind of organizational change happen in companies over the past few decades. Common reasons are:

change of president

CEOs are usually under pressure from the board of directors to improve the company’s performance.

These same boards can also bring in or suggest acquaintances in X public institutions to rearrange agendas and build stakes within the board.

CMO change

CMOs are one of the main causes of reorganization in marketing.

Whether centralized or decentralized, new CMOs typically want to make large-scale changes to make marketing more effective and less expensive.

Luckily, of all CxOs, these CMOs know our marketing world and often listen to the benefits and challenges of making changes that help define strategy. .


The CFO’s job is to reduce budgets while increasing revenues as much as possible. Marketing is the most pressing target of CFO cuts.

The only way to win a CFO’s love is to prove with quantitative data the value your digital marketing program brings to your company.

The task of ‘marketing decentralization’ can also be interpreted as ‘you want to separate your global marketing budget from your P&L, so they might advocate a heavy blow to your search agenda’. . Not just planning, but global colleagues as well. ”

global leadership

Global leadership is also involved in restructuring, especially sales positions and those who have to do all the marketing with fewer resources in their respective countries.

The last thing they want is to be told how and what to do by someone in a foreign country who doesn’t know their culture or language, let alone their competitors. Often they advocate decentralization.

What search marketers can do Promote a hybrid model

As a marketer, sometimes you can’t push a centralized marketing system to leadership, and that’s okay.

There is another option. I call this the “Centralized Hybrid Model”.

I can assure you that implementing this is easier said than done. However, it offers all the advantages of combining centralization and decentralization.

Centralized hybrid marketing

Central, regional and local stakeholders have equal voice and participation in global marketing strategies. Also, each regional stakeholder is fully aligned with their country managers.

Having a system where knowledge is shared and considered from the ground team to the central team equally breaks down the silos formed in other models and benefits the whole group.

Despite its size, Switzerland is considered one of the most stable and competitive countries in the world, according to the World Economic Forum.

Switzerland’s 26 cantons resemble external marketing parties. External marketing stakeholders work closely with central internal stakeholders to help guide strategy and provide local feedback, reporting and knowledge.

At the same time, internal stakeholders use budget control to declare what is working and what is not working as a team and areas to investigate.

Break down marketing silos

Global SEO has to work technically. Execute your content well to align your brand with its company goals.

A proper system of paid media ensures that your branding and messages reach their potential and your budget is distributed fairly.

Regardless of system, best practice is to bring everyone together. Breaking down silos, sharing ideas, and having common goals can help you succeed in a multinational marketing group.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Standing Desk Reviews